Frank Pesce, a character actor who appeared in the first two “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Top Gun,” “Midnight Run” and “Miami Vice” films, died Feb. 6 due to complications from dementia.
He was 75 years old.
Born in 1946 in New York, Pesce’s circle of friends included Sylvester Stallone, Tony Danza and Robert Forster, among others. Known for his big smile and colorful personality, Pesce first appeared on screen in 1976 as a guest star on “Police Story.” Throughout his career he appeared in other series such as “Kojak”, “Knight Rider”, “Blue Thunder”, “The Greatest American Hero”, “Matlock”, “Who’s the Boss?” and “The Master”.
Pesce landed small roles in the Stallone movies “Rocky” and “Paradise Alley,” as well as the Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer hits “Flashdance” and “Top Gun.”
In a statement to Variety, Pesce’s girlfriend Tammy Scher said, “I met Frank at a very low time in my life. He always said he saved me and he was right. I had never met anyone like him. Frank was a larger than life force or any fictional character, always entertaining, intriguing and fascinating. Don’t be afraid to approach someone and get to know them immediately. Celebrities flocked to be near him as he had an encyclopedia of music and movie knowledge.
Along with James Franciscus, Pesce wrote the story for George Gallo’s 1991 film “29th Street,” which is based on Pesce’s own story as a New York lottery winner. Pesce starred in the film as his older brother Vito, while Dan Aiello played his father and Anthony LaPaglia played Frank.
David Permut, who produced the film, said of Pesce: “To say that Frank was one of a kind would be a gross understatement. We shared our love and our passion for cinema. He claimed to see more films than Leonard Maltin and Roger Ebert combined.
Along with Scher, Pesce is survived by his brother, Vito Pesce; nieces Vanessa Pesce and Danielle Pesce; and his sister-in-law Catherine Pesce. He will be buried Friday in New York at Saint Raymond Cemetery in the Bronx.